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One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest2
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
We, being members of society do not have the authority to judge whether people are sane or insane. Some may say that others are insane but we are all a little bit crazy. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, a novel written by Ken Kesey deals with these topics and is a well-written piece of literature that will be enjoyed by generations to come. It will become a timeless classic simply because of the great combination of the setting and the characters and how they both support the themes found throughout the story.
The setting of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a backdrop which makes it easy to see the wickedness of the world and people in general. The hospital, Dr. Spivey says, “is a little world inside that is a made-to-scale prototype of the big world outside.” Most of the action in the novel takes place in a world that is indeed limited and specific. It is but one ward of one hospital in Oregon. The world of the Cuckoo’s Nest is in many ways a cartoon world that is filled with colorful characters and laughs, in which good and evil are clearly defined. Far from being a place of healing, the hospital is a place of fear where patients do not laugh and fear the consequences of anything they speak of. The setting of this novel allows the characters to develop freely and they are even a little off the wall which is a good attribute that will be admired by future readers.
McMurphy teaches the rest of the patients how to be sane. Above all, this sanity consists of the ability to laugh, to laugh both at your self and at the world that is often ludicrous and cruel. Chief Bromden says, “ He knows you have to laugh at the things that hurt you just to keep yourself in balance, just to keep the world from running you plumb crazy.” As McMurphy is strapped to the treatment table (shape of a cross), a parallel is drawn between him and Christ, both sacrificed themselves for the good of others. His sole reason for living has been the other patients’ need for him. His example has given the patients enough courage to brave the outside world, but he returns from a lobotomy a ruined man. One of the most important clues to the character of Nurse Ratched is that her name rhymes with ratchet, which is a piece of machinery. Nurse Ratched (whose name also carries the echoes of rat and wretched), has transformed herself from a human being into a machine that demands complete control and order of everyone. The Chief describes the nurse as, a mechanism of terror, able to control the hospital with her “beams of hate”, which shows the Nurse as the embodiment of pure evil. She represents forces that influence us all. The Nurse and her new patient (McMurphy) are in every way opposed to each other; she demands control, while he seeks freedom. She is the voice of common sense but McMurphy never lets rules or common sense stand in the way of good fun.
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